Derbyshire Wildlife Trust defies the odds to restart badger vaccinations

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has defied the odds to resume badger vaccination one year after vaccine supplies dried up.

In December 2015, the World Health Organization announced that there was a global shortage of TB vaccine for humans. This meant that wildlife trusts had to suspend badger vaccination programmes during 2016.

Now a new supply of vaccine has been obtained by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, following several months negotiating supplies and obtaining permission from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to import the InterVax TB vaccine.

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Derbyshire Wildlife Trust chairman and veterinary surgeon Sue Mayer, who secured the vaccine from a Canadian company, has also been training 12 dedicated volunteers in how to use the new vaccine delivery system.

Around 30 badgers have already been successfully vaccinated, including 12 badger cubs, and the next round of vaccinations started on July 6.

Vaccine from the same source was used to successfully vaccinate badgers in the Republic of Ireland in 2016.

Sue said: “Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to be leading the way across the country and vaccinating badgers against TB in 2017.

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“UNICEF now say all country needs for human TB vaccine can be met so we wanted to start vaccinating badgers as soon as we could. Vaccination is a better solution than culling which research indicates can spread the disease further.

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“It’s also cheaper and avoids the indiscriminate killing of healthy animals.”

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been carrying out the badger vaccination programme across Derbyshire since 2014 – working with farmers and landowners and showing that a successful programme of badger vaccination can be achieved in partnership with the help of dozens of trained volunteers. DWT’s badger vaccination programme has been developed with a number of partnerships including the National Trust.

The trust’s pioneering approach to acquiring a vaccine has allowed other vaccination programmes across the country to restart, including those of Chester Zoo, other badger groups, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).